It is always advantageous to consider mediation earlier, rather than later, in any conflict or dispute. I hear from people who have become entagled in conflict at work or in their persoanl lives and often the first thing that happens between the warring parties is that thier communication ceases. Perhaps and worse yet, their communication may continue but in a very non-productive, toxic and dysfunctional manner which leads to further entrenchment in the "rightness" of their own perspectives. If the parties involved in the dispute then pursue the adversarial environment of the courts, the opportunity to really understand what is happening and why often gets lost in the mist of many years and countless thousands of dollars spent trying to prove who is "right" or trying to "win." The option of mediation as a means to resolve the outstanding issues between them is often only considered after everyone has dug in their heels and no one wants to move off their positions.
The earlier mediation is attempted an any conflictual situation, the easier it is to move forward more quickly. Mediation is all about finding out what the outstanding issues are which need to be resolved and allowing the parties to use a neutral, objective mediator to help them take control of developing solutions that work for them. A mediated agreement can then be brought to court and filed as a consent order to ensure that all parties follow through on the commitments made in the agreement.